Hizbullah Weapons Depot Explodes

An explosion that rocked southern Lebanon early Tuesday turned out to be a Hizbullah terrorist weapons depot filled with Katyusha rockets.

Hana Levi Julian,

UN personnel examining Katyusha rocket
UN personnel examining Katyusha rocket
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Lebanese and Israeli sources confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a series of explosions that rocked the border area earlier in the day took place at a Hizbullah terrorist weapons depot.

The storehouse, located near the Lebanese village of Khirbet Salim, some 20 kilometers from Israel's northern border, was filled with Katyusha rockets, automatic rifles and ammunition.

The Lebanese Army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) immediately closed off the area and began an investigation into the incident. Journalists were barred from the scene.

Sources said the depot contained arms that dated back to the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Hizbullah won't yield
The ceasefire agreement that ended the war -- United Nations resolution 1701 -- stipulated that all militias south of the Litani River, including Hizbullah, be disarmed. However, the terrorist organization has categorically refused to comply.

"We have the right, the entire right to possess any weapon, including air defense weapons, and we have also the right to use these weapons when we need them," the group's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah declared in a February 17 speech.

UNIFIL has refused to enforce the resolution, saying it is the responsibility of the Lebanese government to disarm the group.

The Lebanese government also refuses to disarm Hizbullah, which has a significant representation in the country's parliament, as well as in the cabinet. Although the Shi'ite terror organization has not won a majority in the government, it nonetheless wields significant influence there, as well as among the Lebanese population.

Israeli intelligence officials have estimated that Hizbullah possesses more arms, with longer ranges, than it had stockpiled prior to the war. According to the most recent reports, the group's arsenal includes up to 10,000 long-range rockets and 20,000 short-range rockets, all being stored in southern Lebanon within range of Israel.





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